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Archives: September 2013

Plagiarism and Attribution Tests for Journalists: A Must or Not?

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If there’s anything journalists know, it’s how not to plagiarize in our writing. Right? Right?! Wrong, apparently.

Wednesday Jim Romenesko broke the news on his blog that Digital First Media (DFM) has been having some issues with their reporters failing to attribute sources correctly in their work and as a result, their leadership team is asking everyone to take a “plagiarism and attribution quiz.” In a memo from Steve Buttry to DFM staff members, Digital Transformation Editor Buttry wrote that there had been “too many plagiarism cases recently in DFM newsrooms” (read the full memo, first published by Romenesko, here).

On top of the five-question quiz, reporters will have to complete a webinar regarding Web journalism and ethics. In the staff note, Buttry cited DFM’s reputation, “integrity” and “standards” as reasons to encourage all DFM journalists to go through the quick training.

Read more

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Response: No Comments, No Problem

Be QuietI would like to claim responsibility for Popular Science removing its comment section, but I am sure it had little do with my rant a few weeks ago.

That said, I was thrilled to read their post that ‘in the name of science,’ they’ve turned their comments off.

John Kroll writes in this blog post that there is no good reason to turn off the comments. In fact, he says turning them off is lazy and has little to do with science, and much to do with the bottom line.

Maybe it did have to do with the bottom line, but let’s take a look at some of his points: Read more

XoJane.com Wants Writers To Get Personal

xoJane

XoJane.com, the brainchild of Jane Pratt (former founding editor of Sassy and Jane) is an incredibly successful women’s website that garners 2 million monthly visitors. The site’s success stems from many things — the name recognition of its matriarch, the constantly fresh content, the easy to read layout. But what really makes xoJane.com stand out are the extremely personal (and often cringe-worthy) essays from real women, dealing with issues anyone can relate to: dating disasters, family drama, addiction, gender issues, weight struggles, motherhood, pregnancy, birth control… the list goes on.

The writing on the site feels genuinely authentic due to its no holds barred attitude and the robust comment section is well worth a read in and of itself (it’s not uncommon for a controversial article to get over 1,000 responses). XoJane.com’s content is 75 percent freelance, so it’s a great place for writers to get their foot in the door. Executive editor Emily McCombs explains what makes the pub different:

“The idea of the site was definitely for it to be written by a group of women with strong voices, strong personalities [and] strong opinions who are living what they are writing about,” says McCombs. She adds that the advice comes straight from the writer’s own experiences — what she’s wearing, what she’s watching, what makeup she’s wearing — rather than quotes from experts on various topics.

To hear more tips on how to get published on xoJane.com, read How To Pitch: xoJane.com

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

WATCH: Five Things I Didn’t Learn In J-School

Something they don’t always teach in college is that learning doesn’t really happen until you’re out of school. But by that time it’s called working on your craft. And you get paid for it.

Stephanie Tsoflias, New York market TV reporter and Mediabistro instructor gives her list of the top five things she didn’t learn in journalism school.

If you like what you hear, click on this link to sign up for Tsoflias’ “TV News reporting” class or go to mediabistro.com/courses to search for something else you may want to learn.

BBC.com and Quora Partner Up For New Column

BBC.com LogoBBC.com and Quora announced a partnership this week. It’s called the Quora Column, and BBC.com contributors will write columns based on popular discussions on the Q&A site.

They launched a trial column this summer on the travel pages, where it’s been a success. Other news sites also feature Quora columns — such as Slate. Unlike Slate, however, the BBC.com version won’t just be reprinted popular answers. David Allen, managing editor of BBC.com’s features section told me over email that Quora will be used for fodder and answers:

We work with Quora to help seed questions in key topic areas for a subject that we’re looking to cover and they’ll also help us identify key contributors and topics that have already been covered and fit within the subject we’re interested in. Both Quora and BBC.com are rooted in knowledge – each reader/user base has a lot of crossover. We’re not just reprinting popular answers.

I have never really known what to make of Quora, and seem to stumble upon it more often as I persuse and search the web. The partnership is interesting — it’s great to know what readers are already thinking about and expanding upon it. And it’s a great way to leverage user generated content. BBC.com is also working with Quora to “seed out” key contributors and topics to cover. The column launched on the BBC.com Auto pages and BBC.com’s Capital vertical. What do you think about Quora columns? Do you ask or answer questions on the site?

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